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World Cup 2018 memes: Don’t cry for Lionel Messi and Argentina – CNET

Few World Cup fans saw this one coming. Many pre-tournament rankings had Argentina in the top 10, with a shot to win it all, thanks in large part to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. He’s considered by many to be the greatest player in the game, though some make a case for Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Then on Thursday, Croatia stunned Argentina with a 3-0 victory, and now Messi and team are on the brink of elimination.

Naturally, Messi was the topic of many of the tweets buzzing around after the game. Some felt he was overrated, but the great player had many defenders. Said one: “It always annoys me seeing people mock Messi. You don’t love football if you don’t love Messi. Simple.” But another noted that his World Cup performance hasn’t lived up to his actions with his regular team, saying, “Messi is a goat when playing for Barcelona but a sheep when playing for Argentina.”

And the Messi-Ronaldo “who’s the greatest of all time?” debate started up again. It’s perhaps an unwinnable fight, since both men are so good. Wrote one Twitter user: “Messi and Ronaldo fans actually bore me … Messi took (Argentina) to the final in 2014 and won the Golden Ball, but they’ve battled this year. Ronaldo could win the Golden Ball with (Portugal) this year, but didn’t get out of the group in 2014. They’re both phenomenal, phenomenal players.”

One of Croatia’s goals was literally handed to them when goalkeeper Willy Caballero gave the ball right to Croatian winger Ante Rebić, who scored. One viewer compared the goof with that made by Cleveland Cavalier JR Smith in the recent NBA finals, writing “Lionel Messi is the Lebron James of football. Not only does he have to beat his opponents single-handedly but he also has to overcome his own teammates playing against him. Willy Caballero = JR Smith.”

In other Thursday games, many fans were excited by the tournament’s youngest player, 19-year-old Australian midfielder Daniel Arzani, who played during his team’s 1-1 tie with Denmark. Wrote one Twitter user: “His family migrated to Australia when he was 7. He could have played for either Iran or Australia, but chose Socceroos. His club side is Melbourne City. He’s a great example of Australian multiculturalism and football as the world’s game.”

In the day’s other game, France scored an underwhelming 1-0 victory to eliminate Peru and clinch a spot in the round of 16. Kylian Mbappe, 19, became the youngest French player to score in a World Cup game after his first-half goal. He then posed and delivered a shoulder shrug to the crowd.

As for Argentina, their fate is out of the team’s hands for now, as they’ll need other games to go their way to stay in contention. Stay tuned.

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